As strange as it may sound to some of you, there are people that attend this school who are completely satisfied by being challenged by academics only. As we all know, being a college student is about more than understanding how to solve a differential equation. Yet, it often seems as though many Tech students forget this and are deserving of the stereotype of being apathetic, boring, and selfish.
For example, only a seemingly infinitesimal portion of the student body participates in Tech's various outreach programs. It is a shame that in a city like Atlanta, where there is an opportunity to do so much to help others, students here tend to be so focused on themselves.
I had the opportunity to work with one of Tech's service programs, the Techwood Tutorial Program last year and the experience opened my eyes to some of the great opportunities that were available if only they were given a chance. The program pairs up Tech students with inner city elementary school children for the purpose of being the child's tutor and also to be a big brother or sister to them. I was paired up with an eight-year-old second-grader over at a nearby elementary school named Lombardo Houston.
Ever had a professor or teaching assistant that became impatient over your inability to understand something like triple integrals? I remember struggling with Lombardo over learning how to read when I would go down to his school after classes for a while a couple days out of the week.
Even though we made steady progress, the most important thing that anyone involved in the program can do is not to be a just a tutor for their child, but also be their friend. Lombardo would often tell me stories of how his mom's boyfriend would come home in drunk or how he would hear gun shots on some nights when he was trying to get to sleep.
It is terrible for a child with as promising of a future as he does to have to grow up in that sort of environment. Sometimes, when I would take him out for dinner or to the park he would start crying because he knew I would have to take him home soon and that was the last thing he wanted to do.
He would ask me, on occasion, why his home life was the way it was. Being an eight-year-old, he wanted his life to be more like the ones he saw on television. When you compare the lives most of us lead to his, it makes it even more sad that so few of us that can lend a hand actually do.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are limitless possibilities to help others while being a student at Tech. There are kids like Lombardo, as well as grown adults that have needs that are not too difficult to meet if a well-organized effort is put forth. I would encourage everyone to stop by the community services office in the Student Center and to do more with your time at Tech than just studying.
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||Copyright © 1995 by Stephanie L. Goff, Editor and by the Student Publications Board|